Back to Issue Thirty-Five

Wall Street et al.


Oh America, you bad bitch
I picked the cotton that made you rich
-Kendrick Lamar, “For Free? (Interlude)”


new York was once new Amsterdam
and new Amsterdam once had 11 men—then

lifetimes later spawned the empire city
and the Black men & Red men built Wall Street

and the Black Women & Red Women—
oh America

and now, white men in cotton ties & gold cufflinks
sip their coffees on the 3 and 4,

riding through the underground,
mangling its ghosts.


exit: Lexington Ave., past that mosaic map of
new Amsterdam before new York

enter: me, the toe of Black heels
pressing damn ma-s into pavement before

fuck you bitch, you ain’t that bad anyway;
a white Woman with her tiffany crossbody

leverages the scene, says:
i’ll get my uncle sam to fuck you up

and my Black heels make like crossing graves
i’m headed down Broadway & Nothing.



Zain Murdock is a junior at Columbia University, currently studying creative writing and human rights, and based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her work has previously been featured by Aunt Chloe, Quarto Magazine, and the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. More importantly, she loves radically. When she dies, she hopes to grab a drink with James Baldwin, and ask him if, or when, he thinks the world is going to be okay. Zain is most definitely a Pisces.

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